Flatland: Envelop Your Canvas Course in a Story

*Editor's note: The author will present at this month's CanvasCon Texas. For more information on the session and event, click here.

 

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In the digital age, educators are confronted with significant disruptions: a changing media landscape; the growing ineffectiveness of traditional forms to deliver instruction, as well as, a fast paced development of mobile technologies and their expanding educational context impact. This new era brings unprecedented possibilities to develop learning and numerous forms to design learning experiences.

For the purpose of this presentation, Transmedia Storytelling "represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story", a definition proposed by Henry Jenkins in the context of a media convergence culture.

More than a resource, transmedia is a tool to be valued in the construction of expanded learning experiences that address "(...) some of the most pressing challenges facing education today. Through immersive, interconnected, and dynamic narratives, transmedia engages multiple literacies, including textual, visual, and media literacies, as well as multiple intelligences." In the report, "T is for Transmedia: Learning through Transmedia Play", authors Herr-Stephenson and Alper stated that it is possible to find elements that might forge a connection between the learner's media participation habits and learning.

Transmedia projects, like Flatland, show that the creation of such story worlds can be used for the fulfillment of educational goals and support the implementation of strategies that combine effective storytelling with social networking, digital media, mobile computing and augmented reality to create a mashup that is engaging and motivating for students. They reach out to learners on their terms, creating enhancing and spreading content in a rich and fruitful way. The evidence gathered also suggests that the creation of a transmedia learning environment asks for an urgent redefinition of curricular learning, taking learning processes closer to the actual contexts where people socialize, entertain and learn in informal ways.

 

Keep learning,

Heidi Collins
Associate Director of Learning Systems, Texas Woman's University